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Following our earlier post on zip-tied luggage at airports, a reader who prefers to remain anonymous writes:

I just got back from a trip to a skeet competition in San Antonio and we dealt with the new TSA gun transport “rules”. Here is how lax and sad the situation is.

Traveling from Jacksonville to San Antonio on Delta we checked our shotgun cases as always, signed the card, locked the case, and they were taken. The new CAGPT sticker was put on the cases as well.

Upon arrival at San Antonio where they usually are delivered to the Delta special baggage office, they just came out on the regular belt. First time that has ever happened! No zip ties, nothing.

On our return trip from San Antonio to Jacksonville we checked in as usual, signed the card, locked the bags, etc. Then we went behind a TSA special door (this is how it always happens in San Antonio), where a TSA rep does the scan for substances on the case. Then they took the cases and sent us on our way to the regular TSA line.

On our arrival at Jacksonville, a baggage handler brought our bags out and handed them to us. A woman from the special baggage office then came running out insisting he not give them to us and that they had to come to her office.

Then she put a huge zip tie on each case. She didn’t even even check our ID’s or baggage tickets to confirm they were our cases.  Zip ties in place, she dismissed us.

By the way, the zip ties were massive – but it was easy to cut them even with side cutters when we got home, so they would be readily cut with just a multitool like a leatherman, but probably not a small pocket knife.

I pointed out to the rep that what she had done was worthless. Where was the monitoring to prevent us from removing the zip ties before leaving the airport? I mean really, without monitoring, this whole thing is your typical government stupidity designed to make a symbolic gesture that makes no one any safer and just makes things a pain in the butt.

This is also typical of how different airports — even with the same airline — have different practices regarding firearms handling. At some airports shotgun cases come out just like golf clubs, sometimes like regular luggage.

In some airports you have to pick up from the special luggage counter. In others, checking in your shotgun cases is simple and they’re put on a regular belt, In other airports you have to go behind closed doors with TSA. We travel to San Antonio a lot as that is the home of the NSSA and NSCA for Skeet and Sporting Clays at the National Shooting Center.

A baggage rep also told us they’re considering banning all transport of ammunition as another effort to prevent problems.

I can foresee a future where they keep pushing back the airport perimeter, but no matter what they do, any area people are forced to congregate will present an opportunity for some crazed nut to  do something horrible. What’s needed are consistent protocols and professional monitoring to ensure consistent practices are undertaken. However, our government is usually incapable of doing anything with the words “consistent, safe, and professional” in the same sentence.


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  1. My understanding of this blessed plan is that it was Delta’s idea, not TSA. Thoughts?

    • Literally every other person on my street works for Delta so I have the inside scoop.
      I was told that Delta presented this procedure to the regulating authorities for approval. Airlines are so regulated that any policy must be approved by the FAA/TSA/DOT etc. Once approved, Delta has to act as if the policy is mandated by the government agencies.
      So when Delta tells you that the TSA requires zip tie compliance, that is half truth. You are not bound by this agreement between Delta and the Federales. Delta is. Any breech could result in fines for the airline. You are only subject to local law pertaining to how you handle your firearm. Some airports allow CC or OC. All airports allow a locked hardside case to carry firearms and none require zip ties.

      • And then there’s the time when the TSA tried to get little knives on the approved list only to face backlash from airline crews. No, no entirely the TSA here regardless of how easily it is to paint them the whipping boys.

  2. This sounds like lawyers who have no real concept of litigation, only “risk management.” The airline is not responsible for what one of its customers does with the customer’s property after it leaves the possession of the airline. However, the pinheads in administration assume, perhaps rightly, that that won’t stop anyone injured or the heirs of someone killed from suing, so this is a proactive step to make it look like they did everything they could, even though it is absolutely meaningless.

    I wonder when someone will, when they are told they are free to go after their luggage is “securely” zip tied, whip out a cutter, cut off the ties, open the suitcase and gun up. Then walk out saying, “Have a nice day!” It would be perfectly legal to do so, assuming that that person was authorized to carry in that state.

    • Not in Florida, it wouldn’t be legal, as guns are prohibited in all areas of the airport… That’s the problem with that shooting. The licensed carriers obeyed the law, while the gutless criminal didn’t.

  3. Anyone know what the process is to get a cease-and-desist order to the DELTA attorneys for the willful violation of 27 CFR 478.31 (b)?

    Or any other airline for that matter?

  4. Big zip-ties like that are not cheap, and are very handy. Do not cut them off. Use a small screwdriver or such tool to push the locking mechanism up and pull the tie loose. You can use it over again.

    It’s a hillbilly dream. Beats duck tape hands down.

  5. This is not required by Federal law. This is not required by TSA regulations. This is not even required by TSA “policy”.
    The zip ties are ENTIRELY the choice of the Airlines to SCREW OVER their MOST law abiding class of customers.
    Let the Airlines HEAR from you. Don’t just bitch on the internet.

  6. Apply medium size nail clippers to said zip ties and hand them back to the Delta employee and request they toss them. Advise them they have fulfilled the requirement of their company, even if it is stupid and pointless, it isn’t the fault of the employee, just the company lawyers.

  7. My Pelican 1610 case was not zip-tied by Delta earlier today. However, I was required to pick it up at the baggage service desk.

  8. Why are you sheeple letting an airline employee recover your guns after you have claimed them?
    You have the claim stub. Be gone. You are not breaking any law.

  9. “Where was the monitoring to prevent us from removing the zip ties before leaving the airport?”

    Where is the law that would allow them to do anything if you did? Strikes me a bit similar to Wal Mart ‘receipt checks.’

  10. Here’s the deal folks. Delta has slapped a CAGPT policy on your luggage containing a firearm case without your consent. With that program, they are guaranteeing your bag hasn’t been pilfered.
    You need to demand proof of non pilfering and the only way to do that is have the zip ties removed at the BSO counter.

    • The zip ties are a separate issue. It’s the CAGPT tag that violates the law. Delta ceased the CAGPT program for high value luggage therefore it is only used to indicate firearms contained.

      Contains A Gun Please Take

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